A Happy, Flourishing City With No Advertising / by Evan Troxel

Billboards and signage advertising are way out of control and getting away with murder. Cities bend over backwards to allow this environmental junkyard, effectively making us live in visually chaotic spaces which lead to more stressful lives.

Estimates say some Americans now look at upwards of 4,000 ads per day. When is enough enough?

Isn't it interesting how we just accept this trash; this visual pollution? Have you ever asked yourself why? Well, lucky for us, someone with a backbone in São Paulo did something about it:

In 2006, Gilberto Kassab, mayor of São Paulo, Brazil, passed the "Clean City Law." Citing growing concerns about rampant pollution in his city, Kassab decided enough was enough. But this was no ordinary piece of pollution legislation. Rather than going after car emissions or litterbugs, Kassab went after the billboards. Yes, you read that right: Kassab wanted to crack down on "visual pollution."

Thank you Gilberto, for showing us the way. You are a hero and a gentleman.

It's bad enough that we have all of the gratuitous signage on our playground equipment, storefronts and public spaces everywhere. It's a true shame our society feels the need to physically label absolutely everything to protect us from ourselves. This is another topic, but whatever happened to personal responsibility?

Companies can and should be forced to find better ways to sell their wares to consumers instead of bombarding them with signage advertising. They are not entitled to this form of advertising, and it's up to us to take it back. The public needs to understand that they own these cities and have a say in what is built in them - including signage and billboard advertising. That we even allowed it in the first place pisses me off. Let's learn a lesson from São Paulo and get rid of the clutter. 

This reminds me of the apropos chorus in Signs by the Five Man Electrical Band (or maybe even better is the Tesla version):

Signs, signs, everywhere there's signs

Blockin' out the scenery, breakin' my mind

Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign